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Three outdated but common attitudes about older employees

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

Many older employees are just as capable as are younger employees. Just about all employees, regardless of their age, are fit for their job. Unfortunately, some people don’t base their judgment on whether someone can do a job. They base their judgment on age, which is not only outdated but against the law.

This is a form of ageism. Ageism refers to discrimination based on age. It is illegal and can manifest in different ways. Here are some outdated, yet common examples of ageism that still occur in the workplace.

Belief that older workers can’t keep up with technology

The belief that older employees can’t adapt to new technology is a common misconception. For example, in an office setting, younger colleagues might assume that older team members would struggle with new software or learning new systems.

But, many older employees have shown their ability to adapt to new technologies. It’s not uncommon to see them confidently using new programs or even leading digital training sessions. These facts make it wrong to believe such an outdated stereotype.

Assumption that older employees are less productive

Another outdated attitude is the notion that older employees are less productive. This stereotype unjustly links age with decreased capability. The reality is that productivity is based on the individual and is not necessarily age-dependent.

Older employees often bring valuable experience and knowledge that enhances productivity. For example, older employees often have an institutional memory about prior situations that presented issues similar to those that are now arising in the workplace, and how the same or similar problems were solved in the past.

That older employees are resistant to change

Lastly, there’s the stereotype that older employees are resistant to change. The assumption that older employees are stuck in their ways is false. This outdated view fails to recognize that adaptability is not exclusive to any age group. Individuals of all ages are capable of embracing change.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that all employees, regardless of age, may require time to adapt to significant changes. This is especially true when these changes involve new technologies or work methods.

Lost opportunities due to discrimination

Experiencing ageism is particularly stressful when it affects employees’ livelihoods. Workplaces that do not address ageism may inadvertently perpetuate the poor treatment of older employees. This can look like older employees being passed over for promotions or assigned fewer responsibilities, which can be devastating. For those experiencing such discrimination, seeking an attorney can be beneficial. An attorney can guide employees in addressing workplace discrimination based on age.

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